A North County mother conquered one of the hardest races in the world. Vivian Lee of Encinitas went to new heights last week by running an ultramarathon, or 37 miles, on the Mount Everest.
"You climb the mountain because the mountain is there," she said on Friday.
It was an uphill battle to get to this peak: She only started running marathons a few years ago.
"I was never athletic at all," laughed Lee. "I barely passed high school P.E. requirements."
The Everest Marathon in Nepal is the world's highest race and one of the most dangerous. It's the world's highest race reaching Himalayan passes nearly 17,000 feet in altitude.
At least 11 climbers died last month closer to Mount Everest's summit at 29,000 feet. Two of them were American.
The Associated Press first reported on Wednesday that four dead bodies were uncovered from Mount Everest by the Nepalese government as they removed over 24,000 pounds of trash.
"I didn't know how my body would react to the altitude," said Lee.
Most people will start to feel altitude sickness at elevations of 8,000 feet. At some points during the race, Lee was running at heights of 17,000 feet.
"Some people would feel good certain days and then all the sudden feel extremely tired on the other day," said Lee.
Lee added a runner in the marathon had to shelter in place due to the cold. Some ran out of water during the race and were forced to drink from the creek.
Lee wants other runners to know if she can do it, anyone can.
"To finish a marathon really all you need is something in your mind to believe that you can do it," said Lee. "And putting the effort into practice."
The ultramarathon starts at the Everest Base Camp and through five high Himalayan passes. Runners can choose to sleep in tents at the base camp.
Those who choose the Everest Marathon with the classic trail will spend 25 days there and pay about $3,000 for the event.